What is the real physician shortage?
We’ve reported the primary care shortage to be as high as 44,000 physicians by 2025. Could it be as high as 325,000?
Personnel shortages exist throughout America’s healthcare delivery system, but most obvious is a lack of primary care doctors and general surgeons. The American Academy of Family Physicians estimates a shortfall of 40,000 general practice physicians by 2020.
A little math suggests that the situation may be much worse than admitted. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are 730,801 practicing physicians in the U.S. Of these, roughly 220,000 (30 percent) offer primary care services. Using census estimates and OECD averages for primary care physicians per thousand patients in developed countries, America will need 580,000 family doctors in 2020. The numbers predict there may be a shortfall of as many as 325,000 family docs in ten years. In out years the problem may worsen.